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Headword: *ke/pfos
Adler number: kappa,1347
Translated headword: stormy petrel
Vetting Status: high
A kind of very quick bird.[1]
It is light and floats on the waves.[2]
"O petrel!", meaning o most paltry and babbling!; for that is what they say the petrel is like.[3] The proverbial saying is applied to thoughtless men. For the petrel eats sea foam: and the fishermen's children cast foam first forwards, then close by, then into their hands; whereby they catch [them] easily.[4]
Greek Original:
*ke/pfos: ei)=dos o)rne/ou o)cuta/tou. o(/ti kou=fo/n e)sti kai\ e)piple/on toi=s ku/masin. *)=w ke/pfe, a)nti\ tou= w)= eu)tele/state kai\ la/le: fasi\ ga\r to\n ke/pfon toiou=ton ei)=nai. ta/ttetai de\ h( paroimi/a e)pi\ tw=n a)logi/stwn a)ndrw=n. o( ga\r ke/pfos a)fro\n e)sqi/ei qala/ttion: oi( de\ pai=des tw=n a(lie/wn r(i/ptousi to\ prw=ton po/rrwqen, ei)=ta e)gguta/tw, ei)=ta ei)s th\n xei=ra to\n a)fro\n kai\ eu)xerw=s a)greu/ousin.
LSJ considers this to be "perhaps" the stormy petrel, Thalassidroma pelagica. See also kappa 1348.
[1] Likewise or similarly in other lexica (see the references at Photius kappa575 Theodoridis); ultimately from Aelius Dionysius, Attika Onomata k.21.
[2] Also in the Etymologicum Magnum; already called "light" in Aristophanes of Byzantium, Nomina aetatum (fragmentum Parisinum) 20, and Suetonius, Peri blasphemiƓn 7.18.
[3] Aristophanes, Plutus [Wealth] 912 (web address 1), with scholion.
[4] Anecdote repeated in several scholiasts, and ultimately from Aristotle, History of Animals 620a; the particular wording ("forward, then close by") occurs in the scholia to Plutus (see above) and Tzetzes' commentary on Plutus. See also Peace 1067.
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: children; comedy; daily life; definition; geography; imagery; proverbs; zoology
Translated by: Nick Nicholas on 25 October 2008@00:57:26.
Vetted by:
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, keywords, status) on 26 October 2008@01:08:28.
David Whitehead (sorted out note-numbers; other tweaks and cosmetics) on 26 October 2008@05:35:10.
David Whitehead on 18 February 2013@06:35:26.
Catharine Roth (translated title) on 29 November 2014@23:53:50.


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